Matters Of The Heart

Welcome to new column, Matters of the Heart, where Yvonne Brooks, a pastor and ministry leader, will share her wisdom, compassion and insight with readers who are experiencing life issues and need advice on how to overcome them. 

I can’t get over the death of my mother

I lost my mother from COVID in late 2020 and, since then, Christmas has never been the same for me. I have my husband and three children whom I love dearly, but I am finding it very difficult to get over the loss of my mother. We were very close. Aside from my husband, I always sought my mother’s counsel and Christmas was always a time when our families came together. As Christmas approaches, I can feel myself being overwhelmed with grief for my mother, and I’m fearful that I’ll sink into depression and be unable to celebrate Christmas. Do you have any advice to share on how to overcome my grief so that I can celebrate this season with my family?

Pastor Yvonne: I am so sorry to hear of your Mother’s death. Losing someone suddenly can be extremely traumatic and can lead to feelings of guilt and sometimes self-blame. I suspect, too, that because your Mum died during COVID restrictions, you may not have had the opportunity to mourn her loss in a way that would be appropriate for you and your family, but it is not too late to do something that you believe will honour her memory. If you haven’t already done so, it may help to seek a counsellor who will help you to understand and come to terms with the feelings you are experiencing. 

Please take time to reflect on your relationship with your Mum, the things she would do and enjoyed, and what she would say to you if she were here right now. How would she expect you to handle life without her? 

Your husband and children still need you and they are probably mourning her loss too. It might help for you to think of some of the favourite things that your Mum liked to do at Christmas, pull the family together and make it a central part of your Christmas celebrations this year. You can talk about her with the family, and remember and celebrate her life. You will be supporting yourself and your family. It’s OK for you all to laugh and cry together. You have my best wishes.

I let myself down and had sex with two men

When Christmas approaches, I reflect on the past year and start setting goals for the new one. I believe I let myself down badly this year. Since becoming a Christian six years ago I managed to abstain from sex, but this year I slept with two men. I feel incredibly guilty and feel I let myself and God down. Ever since I turned 30 two years ago, I have had a burning desire to get married and start a family. I’ve prayed about it and kept myself busy, but my longing to be married won’t go away. What can I do so that I don’t repeat this behaviour in 2023?

Pastor Yvonne: I sense that each time you assess your year, there is a rising tide of panic in your subconscious, and this gives you a sense that time is passing and that you’re not going to be able to achieve your goal of being married and having children. 

I encourage you not just to abstain from intercourse but to make a conscious decision that you will remain celibate until you are married. It must not just be something your church believes but your own choice.

Then completely surrender your life to Christ — your sexuality, your gifts, talents and abilities, etc — ask Him to take over and actively pursue Him. Study the Word of God and convert it into actions that are realistic and practical. Your past behaviour has been self-sabotaging and will result in the opposite of what you desire. Please deal with that according to 1 John 1:8-10. Find somebody you trust to be an accountability partner and be accountable to them.

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Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Woman of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose.  She is also a speaker and author.  Visit for more details

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